Dan Leader’s wheat and wheat berry bread

dsc03667This is recipe #4 that I’ve made from Dan Leader’s Bread Alone.  For the previous recipes, check out here and here and here. I still have (I think) six recipes I’ve flagged, but I’m probably only going to make three more since I need to move on and we’re swimming in bread these days.  But I just have to try the havarti rye, the apricot chocolate bread, and the raisin sesame seed breakfast loaf.  The rest are variations of sourdough and I think after four recipes I have a general idea about Dan Leader’s methods. dsc03649

So anyway, this is the one basic loaf I’ll probably be making.   And unfortunately it didn’t turn out at well as I would’ve hoped.  Maybe my wheat berries are just harder than usual, but I left them out all night covered with hot water and they did not soften.  So now I have two loaves of bread with crunchy bits in them, and I’m not sure what I’m going to do with them.  I’m going to make an assumption that the Bread Maiden family is not going to be interested in these loaves with crunchy bits.

If you do decide to make this recipe, either use my pressure cooker wheat berry recipe here, or cook them until they are actually soft, rather than soaking them overnight and throwing them into your loaf hoping they’ll soften during baking.

Ok, so with that introduction, here is Dan Leader’s wheat and wheat berry bread recipe.

For two loaves, you will need:dsc03650


3/4 cup water

1/2 teaspoon instant or active dry yeast

3/4 cup whole wheat flour

1/4 cup all-purpose flour

Final dough:

2 1/4 cups water

1/2 teaspoon yeast

2 3/4 cups whole wheat flour

1 tablespoon salt

3-4 cups 60/40 mix of AP flour and WW flour (I just alternate cups of each)

1 cup COOKED wheat berries, cooled

  1. mix together your poolish ingredients in a medium bowl the night before you plan to bake.  Cover and let rise overnight.

    the night I mixed it up


    the next morning

    2. In a large bowl, combine the yeast and the water.  Then add the poolish and break it up using a wooden spoon.  dsc036553. Add the whole wheat flour, wheat berries and salt.  Then add the 60/40 flour mix, one cup at a time, until your dough comes together to form a ball.


    I stopped adding flour at this point and let the dough rest for 15 minutes before continuing kneading.  The dough absorbed the flour more easily that way.

    4. Cover the dough and let rise 2-3 hours.  I forgot my dough while running errands and came home to this:dsc036575. Divide your dough in two, roll each into balls and place them seam side up in two bannetons.  Cover the bannetons with a dish or tea towel.  Let rise an additional 1.5-2 hours.  dsc036586. 45 minutes before you plan to bake, preheat the oven to 500 degrees F with a dutch oven inside.  dsc036597. Bake for 15 minutes covered at 500 degrees, then bump the temperature down to 375 for 15 minutes, then remove the lid for the final 15 minutes.  I forgot my bread was in the oven even though I set a timer, but thankfully it turned out ok.dsc03660

    Sadly, as I said before, the wheat berries weren’t cooked after using Dan Leader’s method of soaking the berries overnight after adding hot water.  The bread is quite tasty otherwise.dsc03664dsc03667

    If I make this again, I’ll make sure the berries or whatever other grains I use are fully cooked!

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